The Alliance is an initiative of Stop Foodborne Illness (STOP), leading food companies and organizations committed to the goal of preventing foodborne illness by utilizing compelling personal stories of individuals and families who have been impacted by a severe foodborne illness.
The goal of communicating personal stories is to make clear why safety must be a central value of the food system.
In a data-driven world, giving a voice to those who have experienced the greatest impact of foodborne pathogens is a critical component to motivate people to reduce hazards and prevent illness.
Conveying compelling personal stories illustrating the consequences of foodborne illness will motivate people at all levels of industry to follow their established science-based protocols every day to ensure the safety of our food supply.
Stop Foodborne Illness is a national, non-profit public health organization dedicated to the prevention of illness and death from foodborne pathogens. Founded in 1993 by individuals and families who had directly experienced serious illnesses and deaths associated with E. coli O157:H7 and other deadly bacteria, the organization has supported and represented illness survivors, advanced public understanding of foodborne illness, and supported public policies and industry practices that strengthen prevention.
The organization had a major impact on meat safety reforms in the 1990s. STOP later worked with consumer groups and the food industry to achieve enactment of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA), which codified the principle of regulatory accountability for prevention.
Over the years, engagement by STOP constituents with farmers, food companies, and industry associations on the human dimension of food safety have shown how the unique voice of those directly affected by foodborne illness can contribute to strengthening food safety culture and practices within food businesses, pushing companies to go beyond the minimum required by regulations.
Even with this progress, prevention of contamination every day at every level of our large, complex and diverse food system remains a major food safety obstacle. STOP believes the motivation provided by its compelling personal stories and the same kind of multi-sector dialogue and collaboration that led to enactment of FSMA can contribute to meeting today’s food safety challenges.
Through the Alliance, those directly affected by foodborne illness are provided the unique opportunity to work in innovative ways with the food industry to foster continued improvement in food safety. There is no other vehicle like it for enabling ongoing collaboration on food safety between food companies and consumers.
The Alliance is made possible by cooperative approaches to food safety, as reflected in the consumer-industry coalitions and STOP’s ongoing successful engagement with food companies, large and small.
The approach is grounded in strong alignment among many industry leaders and consumer and food safety advocates on the goal of preventing illness through best practices, continuous improvement, and strong food safety cultures.
This makes it possible to create a space in which consumer advocates, food companies, and scientists committed to the common goal of preventing foodborne illness can collaborate in new ways and, based on performance and consumer-industry dialogue, strengthen consumer confidence in how food safety is being managed.
The STOP Board of Directors, in collaboration with member food companies, are coordinating Alliance planning and development through a committee that includes:
The specific activities of the Alliance are determined collaboratively by the planning committee and Alliance participants and will evolve over time. We welcome your ideas and input!
Current activities include:
The Alliance is currently comprised of for-profit, and non-profit organizations, each with their own purposes and accountabilities operating independently in their own spheres. Each member employs their own unique methods to strengthen food safety culture while coming together and pooling their efforts to advance shared food safety goals.
To make the Alliance successful, some key governance and operating principles are observed, including: